This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Tom Lawrence could be set to leave Derby County in January with the club looking to offload some of their more expensive assets.
The Daily Mail broke the news that a number of Championship clubs including Stoke City would be interested in a deal for the Welshman.
The Potters currently sit in fifth place and along with Coventry City have looked one of the best teams in the division outside of the parachute payments trio of Bournemouth, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.
Lawrence looks likely to have his pick of second tier clubs with promotion aspirations so we have taken a deeper look into the fits for the individual and a potential new destination.
We gathered the thoughts of a selection of FLW writers to see whether they think Lawrence would be a good signing for Stoke City…
This could be a very good signing, you’ve got to say.
Lawrence is a player that’s consistently performed in the Championship over the years and the fact he’s heading for the exit door at Derby has nothing to do with his talent.
He’s a big earner, yes, but he could be the difference between Stoke getting into the play-offs and just missing out.
On a free, it’s more than worth the risk on wages.
Players like Lawrence aren’t often on the market like this, which explains why so many clubs are in the mix to sign him.
For Stoke, they will feel they can’t miss out given their own target this season.
This feels like an interesting one to consider from a Stoke City perspective.
Although the Potters do seem to have plenty of attacking options available to them right now, a number of those players are approaching the latter stages of their contract with the club.
You wonder whether that could prompt something of a player overhaul in the near future, and were that to be the case, someone like Lawrence might not be a bad option to bring in for Michael O’Neill.
Although he has struggled to hit top form over the past couple of seasons, Lawrence does have plenty of experience and know how of this level, and that could allow him to operate as a decent squad player for Stoke.
Derby’s financial situation, and the fact Lawrence is out of contract in the summer, also mean the winger could be available for a relatively cheap price, so this one could be worth looking into for those in charge of the Potters.
Quiz: Have Stoke City ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
You have to question whether this move is the right fit for the Potters if they want to stay with two up top.
Lawrence has played as a centre-forward at times this season, but he hasn’t shown the goalscoring prowess needed to lead a side to the Premier League consistently enough, so this might be one to avoid if the same system remains in place.
There are no doubts he would be a bargain on a free transfer, but it remains to be seen whether they could negotiate a reasonably sensible wage with the 27-year-old.
With several teams interested in his services and his current salary, this is doubtful, so this is the type of move they should be looking to avoid if this is the case.
The club have been focused on being more sustainable in recent times after their reckless spending spree in 2018 – and there are options out there that would provide better value for wages than Lawrence would. I’m firmly in the ‘no’ camp for this one.